Almost four million people visited Yosemite National Park in 2009. Lodges and some campgrounds inside the park are open year round. Hotels outside Yosemite provide quick access to the park’s 800 miles of hiking trails and 350 miles of roads. They also make a good base of operations for day trips to local wineries and ghost towns.
The Groveland Hotel
Groveland, a small town with 1,500 residents is the site of the oldest continuously operating saloon in California. The AAA Three-Diamond Groveland Hotel, built in 1849 has room and suites with Victorian décor. Each room has a private bath, free WiFi and down mattresses. The hotel’s restaurant, one of only a few in Groveland, serves rustic pizzas, small plates and entrees made with organic, sustainable local ingredients. Tasting flights pair gourmet chocolate and wine. Full breakfast is included for guests.
Shenandoah Inn, in Amador County wine country, has 47 rooms, each with views of the Sierra foothills. Standard rooms have one king or two queen-sized beds. The AAA Three-Diamond hotel also offers one Jacuzzi room and a suite. All have microwave ovens and mini-fridges. Taste, a nearby restaurant, won the Open Table 2009 Diner’s Choice award as one of the top 50 restaurants in the country. Shenandoah Inn offers wine tasting, hiking, gold exploration and romance packages.
The Overland Hotel, in Fallon, Nevada, built in 1908, was placed on the Nevada Register of Historic Places in 1999. Restoration of the hotel began in 1996, when all additions were removed, the original floors refurbished and the original 12-foot ceilings restored. Antiques and artifacts decorate the rooms at the Overland Hotel. The Overland Saloon, open seven days a week, hosts special events throughout the year. Meals, served Basque family style at the hotel’s casual restaurant feature shared portions at communal tables.
Historic Hotel Jeffery
The three-story Hotel Jeffery, established in 1851, hosted President Theodore Roosevelt when he visited Yosemite in 1902. Located in Coulterville, California on historic Highway 49, the hotel rents standard rooms, decorated with antiques, with either shared or private bathrooms. The original bar, rock walls, swinging doors and hardwood floors remain in the Magnolia Saloon. The bar and eatery serves local beers and hearty American food. The saloon operates on a seasonal schedule, with shorter hours during the winter.
- yosemite image by Ary from Fotolia.com